Jose Mourinho has complete confidence in his defence ahead of Chelsea’s trip to face Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday.
The pair’s previous encounter at White Hart Line resulted in an eight-goal thriller, with Mauricio Pochettino’s team ending a run of nine top-flight meetings without a win against their London rivals by prevailing 5-3.
So far this term, Chelsea have conceded 23 goals in 13 Premier League fixtures – the sixth-worst record in the top flight.
However, successive clean sheets in wins over Norwich City and Maccabi Tel Aviv have pleased Mourinho, who is certain they will be ready for another trip to north London, despite concerns over the fitness of John Terry.
“I have complete trust in Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma, which is why in an important match for us on Tuesday I left Kurt out after the good performances he is having to show Gary that confidence,” Mourinho said.
“They are ready. I am not saying Papy Djilobodji is ready because he did not have chances to play and his is a different situation, but Zouma and Cahill are both ready and if John doesn’t play, I go with them.
“I don’t want to say that it is impossible he plays because maybe he plays and people will say that I was hiding it, and I am not hiding. Today he didn’t train but we have a little hope that it is possible.”
The Portuguese coach also disclosed his doubts over the condition of Ramires and Radamel Falcao, while ruling Thibaut Courtois out of a return at White Hart Lane.
“Ramires is the same situation as John, I don’t know, let’s wait and see. He has a chance,” he added.
“Falcao is still in recovery and Courtois is training with the team but not playing Sunday. He is making good progress.”
Having ensured Europa League progression with victory over Qarabag in midweek, confidence at Tottenham is high.
Pochettino’s team could go 13 games unbeaten in the Premier League for the first time in their history if they get a result against the defending champions, and they have avoided defeat in 18 of their last 20 top-flight games on home soil.
The former Southampton coach is calling on the fans to provide the players with the energy needed following a congested week.
“We know it’s a tough game and a derby. We need our supporters to send the best energy because it’s an important game for them and us,” Pochettino told Tottenham’s official website.
“We need energy because it’s a Sunday morning, flying back [from Azerbaijan on Thursday] and no day to prepare for the game.
“They have very good players, a great manager, and it’s always tough. They have time to recover points in the table.”
Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Erik Lamela (groin) could be in line for a return to the squad for Sunday’s clash, but the match will come too soon for Nacer Chadli (ankle) and Dele Alli will miss out through suspension.
Key Opta stats:
– Chelsea have won just one of their last nine Premier League trips to White Hart Lane (W1 D4 L4).
– Harry Kane has scored seven goals in his last four Premier League matches.
– Eden Hazard has scored in his last three Premier League appearances against Tottenham.
– Tottenham have fired in more shots on target this season than any other team in the top flight (88).
– Cesc Fabregas has provided 11 Premier League assists against Tottenham; five more than against any other Premier League opponent.